Bulls cracking at the seams

Bulls cracking at the seams

Derrick Rose went on an epic rant after the Cleveland loss, Thibodeau canceled practice yesterday, and the Bulls look like a Cleveland size mess internally right now.

I asked just five days ago if the Bulls were starting to tune out Tom Thibodeau. The answer, so far, appears to be yes.

Thibodeau was demanding buyin from the players just over a week ago when he whipped out the circle metaphor after a bad loss to Orlando.

"Either you're in the circle or you're out of the circle," a fired-up Thibodeau said after the Bulls' defensive collapse to the Magic on Monday night. "You want to be in? Let's go. You don't want to be in? That's fine too. Let's go."

And if you ever wondered why Kirk Hinrich plays? For whatever mistakes he makes, for whatever lack of ability he has, he's standing in the middle of that damn circle as far away from the edge as possible. In a season where buy in seems to be an issue, Thibs is leaning on whomever buys in.

He now suggests that he'll look at everything, including rotational changes:

"We have to find some continuity," Thibodeau said Monday. "Maybe we look at different people. I'm going to think about it."

The Bulls canceled practice wouldn't be such a big story except that Pau Gasol publicly stated how much the players were looking forward to a day off, and Thibodeau wanted to go back to the stick (work harder) after getting trounced by Cleveland.

The players either overrode him internally and canceled practice on their own, or Thibodeau recognized he was about to lose the players and decided to lighten up. Either way, it's hard to imagine a day off is he feels internally what the team needs right now.

Either way, this is potentially the most talented Bulls team we've seen since the Jordan era. It's not a good time to decide to tune out the coach because you're sick of working hard. This is championship time, not loser time, and right now, the Bulls players look like a group of losers.

Rose delivers epic rant

Derrick Rose becomes the second Bull to deliver an epic rant about the Bulls lousy play.

"Everybody has to be on the same page," Rose said. "Until then, we're going to continue to get our ass kicked."

"It's just the whole team," he said.

"I think communication is huge," Rose said. "We're quiet when we're out there, and it's leading to them getting easy baskets. We got to give a better effort. It seems like we're not even competing, and it's f---ing irritating."

"We're midway through the season," Rose said. "That should be a part of [the discussion]. There's no excuses. My biggest thing is competing. Playing this game for so long, when you don't have that edge, we're going to keep getting our ass whupped."

Derrick should look in the mirror first. He's reportedly skipping defensive practice drills because of his knees, jacking up massive amounts of threes every game, and putting forth some of the worst defensive effort on the team.

Pau Gasol, perhaps the Bulls worst defender, went on a similar rant about a month back after a bad loss. Discussing defensive effort and getting on the same page.

Both of these rants remind me of Andres Nocioni and Luol Deng ranting about the team not sharing the ball enough while having the lowest assist rates of any rotation player. It appears what they're really saying is people aren't passing me the ball enough.

Well these two guys are saying other guys aren't covering up for my low effort and lack of defense nearly enough, because they're probably the two biggest culprits in the lack of effort/defense category.

It's great that both guys stepped up and called the team out. As leaders they need to do that. However, what they also need to do is lead by example. You can call everyone out for their poor play, but you'd better bring it. You'd better not be sitting out practice drills. You'd better not be the one begging for a day off.

There's obviously a growing rift in the locker room. Any rift starts with your top talent, when they buy in then everyone else will follow. Time for Derrick and Pau to practice what they preach.

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  • I've said in the past how proud I was to be a Bulls fan because of how hard they played and how much effort they put into winning. Even if they didn't win games, they were not going to be outworked. This team is different so far. They seem to walk on the court with a sense of arrogance, that they will win by showing up. Something needs to change. If they are tuning out Thibs, then the players need to get in line or get out. They are supposed to be professionals. If they don't want to work hard, find a new profession.

  • Is it possible that Thibs is too rigid in his defensive principles and that either the league is adjusting to the defense or these players are not a good fit for his defense? A lot of the league has been running Thibs' D for a few years now, and teams are putting personnel in place that space the floor, share the ball and can shoot to attack Thibs' D better than they did a few years ago. And this Bulls team with Gasol getting major minutes at center may not be well equipped to run the Thibs D. Will the coach make adjustments?

  • In reply to piggy7:

    I don't think the league made an adjustment that's resulting in the Bulls getting destroyed on pick-and-rolls. They're just not making the effort.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    While I agree that there is a significant lack of effort, it also might be the case that as the players have aged they no longer have the requisite athletic ability to execute Thibs systems effectively.

    The Celtics were an older team when Thibs was there, they were a top, if not the top defensive team, so age didn't seem to be a problem for them.

    As Doug noted, neither Rose or the Krispy Kreme Pansey(Gasol) have a leg to stand on when complaining about effort in general and defense in particular.

  • Epic Rant? Wow, how we are playing in to the ESPN let's make everything a huge story....Bulls have been terrible, players obviously upset with Thibs, Rose obviously not giving 100% DUE TO PAST INJURY, but epic rant? Let's not go over the edge with everything these past couple of weeks. One thing that a commenter said is all that matters: I don't care if you don't like Thibs, just care about winning and that's all we want. Hell, my wife gave me this speech once I told her what was going on with the Bulls. She can't comprehend players not playing hard cause they are mad at their coach. Just care about winning, no matter who is around you! I think that is what Rose is saying, and yes, I do believe that winning is his biggest concern.

  • After reading several articles on the internal affairs of the Bulls it appears at least to me that Thibodeau is the problem. I don't think he's a bad coach but I do think he may have over stayed his welcome and the team has out grew him. Drill sargent coaches like Thibs, Skiles, etc. are good for young teams in a rebuilding phase. They instill a sense of hardwork and dedication as well as self discipline and responsibility to young players that need to be micro managed. The Bulls are no longer a young team, their a middle aged team full of veterans with families now and having played in the league for multiple years. Gasol 34, Hinrich 34, Dunleavy 34, Noah 29, Gibson 29, Rose 26, Brooks 29. These are grown men not teenagers and shouldn't be treated as such. I think the Bulls need a more open coach like Steve Kerr heck or this would even be a good time for a guy like Delnegro who I always felt wasn't all that bad, he just didn't mesh that well with Paxson but can't really blame him for that.

    As for Hinrich, like I always say I don't really think he's all that bad. At this stage in his career he should be a third string point guard playing limited minutes. It's not really all his fault that the coaches and front office takes a liking to him. Sometimes a familiar positive presence is all it takes. But I think if he was playing around 10 to 15 in spot minutes a game he would be okay. He's no longer starter quality so why Thibs keeps throwing him out there is beyond me.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    They are an old team not a middle aged team. Their window is only a couple years so that is old for sure.

    Players a playing like they don't care. Is that the coaches fault that they don't want to work and could care less about winning? Defense is all about effort and we know Thibs system works but we cannot blame him for bad effort that is 100% on the guys on the court. We can say this is the most talented team Bulls have had but talent alone doesn't make champions its about hard work and competitive fire and this teams seems to be seriously lacking both.

    Easy to now stand on a soap box like many of you are and say that Thibs is an assistant coach after being silent for the past few years of extraordinary success with subpar roster talent. He is a top five coach in this league and pandering to players that won't be around in a few years and getting some soft motivational coach is short sighted. This team is old and soft and its up to Rose to take the reigns if he is truly the alpha dog and lead by example.

  • It's probably hard to make an in-season coach change with much success. Also, Bulls probably would like to part ways in the offseason and get compensation for Thibs.

    Two names:
    George Karl
    PJ Carlesimo

    These are veteran coaches who are capable of grabbing the reins in-season should Thibs be let go.

  • In reply to Granby:

    And what exactly is Karl/Carlesimo going to do to motivate these guys? Thibs has stated on a pretty much daily basis over the last 5 years what needs to be done to be champions and winners. If the players don't want to hear it form Thibs, I don't see why they would want to hear it from someone else.

    The problem here is that the Bulls have become pussies, and none of the supposed team leaders are doing anything about it. That's probably what truly sets apart guys like MJ and Kobe...they lead their teams through words and actions. It's been well documented that MJs teams worked harder in practice than in actually games. I've no doubt Kobe probably got on guys too that didn't want to put the effort in. Rose needs to stop worrying about his damn knees and play basketball. Because what good is staying healthy if it means you can only play half-ass?

  • Playing more up-tempo would help.
    Also, playing Noah at the 5 more would help.

  • As the screen name implies, I live outside the normal Bulls broadcast market. As such, I recently ordered the NBA package, as no games were on WGN. Wow, what a shock! 10 games into the NBA package and I'm scratching my head wondering were the team I used to watch has gone? Taj, a usual hustle guy, is getting beat repeatedly and looks like boozer going half hearted to the rack. Rose can't fight through a screen, nor does he use a pick, and buttler can't hit an open 3. I think they need more practice, on help D, defending & using screens, and moving without the ball.

    Last year, I used to show my wife, a Lakers fan, what a good team looks like moving without the ball. This year, everyone is just standing, walking to their spots, head down. This is not an energy team. This is also not so far into the season that the players should be tired. I need to see either something new or bring back the old energy, as this team is not getting it done!

  • Anybody who thinks a coaching change is going to do anything except increase the rate of drop is kidding themselves. Rose and Gasol aren't going to start plying better defense because somebody else is yelling at them. The only thing that saves this team is Noah coming back at near full strength.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Exactly. How is bringing in a coach that goes easy on the players, and doesn't prioritize practice and hard work, going to elevate these guys to championship caliber? That doesn't make any sense. At all.

    The truth is the team has gone soft, and no longer desires to put in the necessary work and sacrifice to be champions. Rose keeps talking about how basketball should be fun. Bullshit, I say. For fans it should be fun, for players it should be hard-ass, grueling work. They aren't paying these guys millions of dollars for nothing.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Thibs has given these players the blueprint for winning. His defense schemes are proven to work, and the team now has the talent to be successful offensively. Now everything falls on the players. Thibs should not be the one who is deciding when these guys practice and how much. The team should be motivated enough to get themselves in the gym, and start busting their ass practicing. The fact these players don't want to put in the effort, and have days off instead, is completely on them, not the coach.

  • Earth to Derrick!! Before you start calling out other players. I call bullshit - on YOU. Yes, your coach is a droning dolt. And yes your offensive support for most of your career has been shitty. But that doesn't give you an excuse to sink to the lame ass place you've sunk to now. Not with all that money and all the adoring fans that thought you were the best thing that happened to Chicago not just the Bulls, but sports period in a long time. Wake up.

    If you feel like a leader and leadership means you need to speak up when there's a problem then that's great. Only one problem with that. Leadership begins by EXAMPLE.

    Is there anything more important in leadership then showing a willingness to do the dirty work in this case playing Defense? Well sir, Defensively you are a train wreck. Forget about the team. You, Derrick, "I've been in the league for how long now?" Rose play the pick and roll about as poorly as it can be played. When your man is at the perimeter for spacing on the weak side and your closest teammate big goes to help it's YOUR job to rotate to that big left in the post and front him, which in most cases takes him out of the play as in they won't throw it to him. Instead, you just stand there and watch the big alone get the ball for the dunk or layin. Pathetic. Dare I say Boozerlike. I wonder what your teammate would like to "communicate" to you in those situations?

    And Offensively? What kind of example does it set when you take the easy way out and jack up 5 or 6 threes a game whenever the mood strikes you(shooting an abysmal .312 for your career) while you expect other players to work within the constructs of the offense and do what they do best? In other words SACRIFICE for the team.

    And the ultimate hypocrisy is you Derrick "the mime" Rose complaining about communication. Rarely do I see communication or leadership with your team mates during games. Usually you're stoically silent and that includes when you make a great play or have a great run in general you walk away from congratulating team mates heading straight towards the bench.

    Really the No. 1 overall pick hype/pedigree is a buffer along with Chicago as a major market and has enabled a lot of flaws in Derrick and his game to go often, too often ignored. Seriously dude other players, top players around the league. You used to whip thier butts. But now to them, you're sort of a joke. Wake up. The only guy you should be calling out right now is yourself.

    Go back to being committed defender Derrick. And shoots two threes a game Derrick. Bread and butter is shooting in the lane and going to the basket Derrick. Because that guy despite his major flaws was a cool ass dude to watch play basketball and root for. Go back to that humble, admirable all-American stud. Please.

  • It's as if Rose is morphing into Deron Williams right before our eyes. Scary.

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    In reply to BullsMan:

    Short and So True

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    Doug pointed it out best wit Pau and Derrick. Play some "D"!

    Derrick Rose is becoming a cancer to that team and part of it is he's not the same player he wants to be anymore. He has his spurts, but he's lost a step and way too inconsistent.

    The sad part is Thibodeau will probably end up as the odd man out as coach of the Bulls. He'll be gone after covering up for Derrick Rose for two years and getting the most out of a bunch of mid level talent while Rose was absent from the team.

    It is time to make lineup changes. January's schedule has to be taking its' toll on the starting players bodies, but the one thing the Bulls had coming into the season was depth. More mins for the subs!

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    OH PAHLEASE! First defense is successful as a team...thats what made the bulls ood because people did rotate over fight over screens and cover for the time while guards fought over screens....defense is never individual why do u think Noah excelled? my point exactly when he is on his own he gets killed when its not around the basket so please save it.....for u Rose critics just shut up already he doesnt play...he needs to be on the court thats the only way she is going to shake the rust off...he does play..he is way too inconsistent... i say it time after time CHOOSE ONE! Doug stop being so wishy washy....u choose one as well... practice what they preach? so whos fault is it when a guard Rose or brooks is being posted by a power forward or center? obviously they switched because someone else somewhere wasnt working hard enough.... so please act like u know someothing about team basketball...u guys r killing me.... first u say regular season doesnt matter...then when they lose...its championship teams make a habbit of winning in the regular season...then when someone gets injured its they shouldve rested them for the playoffs....but then when someone sits its they are a cancer to the team...then when someone plays hurt and its hurting the team its..they need to get healthy Bulls fans are the worse!

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    In reply to Ron Webb:

    good*

  • I don't think it is as much an issue of cohesiveness as much as it still is an issue of talent.

    Big picture, compare this team to the team that began last season (i.e. before Rose got hurt again and Deng was traded). That team was viewed to be a long-shot contender, remember? So relative to that team the Bulls have added Gasol and Mirotic and lost Boozer and Deng. Is that enough of an upgrade that all of a sudden we should have championship expectations? Maybe we upgraded from long-shot to merely unlikely, but that should be about it.

    Regarding Doug's core concern regarding whether Thibs has been tuned out or that the players have lost their commitment, I don't think that is a problem, yet. The Bulls really have some strong professionals. I agree that Rose is a bit of an enigma and that Taj has been off his game (pissed because he thought he would be a starter this year?), but I think all-in-all it is an extremely professional group, certainly by NBA standards. Hopefully, this is just a mid-season slump. In the end though this may be a team with only enough talent to be a conference finalist.

  • Here is an interesting question for Bulls fans, would we be better off right now if we still had Asik(a Mozgov type player) instead of the Krispy Kreme Pansey.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That is an interesting question. Would we assume salaries would be close to the same? If that were the case, then it would prolly be Noah and Taj starting, with Asik and Niko coming off the bench, right? You would lose a lot of offense without Gasol, but Taj always plays better when he starts, and I believe him and Noah together are a great combo. Then the question becomes, who do you go to in the playoffs when you need a score? Only D Rose and maybe Butler? We may be back to the defense keying in on Rose, so Gasol here helps the other team have to worry about him as a threat. I guess I'm sticking with Gasol, but yea that's a tough one...

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Defensively, yes. Offensively...Pau is able to score, however it seems the stronger the opponent's frontcourt, the less effective he becomes. So I would say there may be a slight overall improvement with Asik, but that alone in no way resolves all the current problems.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If Noah is back and healthy, I'd much rather have Gasol. He can do more and complements Noah and Taj where Asik brings more of what Noah and Taj already bring. What we really need is Noah back and healthy.

    Only way I'd prefer Asik is if Noah can play PF with him even though he can't play PF with Gasol, which I think is health-related and otherwise nonsense.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    While I have always maintained that Noah was not a full time power forward, I believe that he would be better at PF alongside Asik simply because Asik does all the things that a center is supposed to do defensively and does them very well, while the KKP does absolutely nothing defensively as a center.

    So at a minimum, with Asik you are not losing much if anything defensively at the center position by taking Noah out of the middle of the defense. Yes, we would again struggle to score, but in reality we are already doing so against teams with any physical presence upfront. Against those teams, the KKP's inside game is totally neutered and his jump shooting game seems to be curtailed also, which shouldn't really happen but does because the KKP is mentally soft in addition to physically.

    As I've said before, the problem with Noah playing PF is less about his ability to play the position and much more about losing what he gives you at center and replacing that with the Krispy Kreme Pansey.

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    Bottom line is team's defense is no longer there. It's not the couches fault. He is an elite defensive coach and has proven that over the years. It's the players fault. It's not their age but it's their effort. All 12 guys on the team don't loose their defensive skills all at once over night. Not possible. There is something going in the locker room. I wouldn't be surprised if it's between the big guys (Gibson, Gaslo & Noah) The starting lineups are obviously not working and the minutes played between them don't make any sense. All 3 of them are getting frustrated and it influences other players frustration levels on the court and off the court.This needs to be fixed ASAP. If that's not the problem, there is some come of a trade coming soon that we don't know about.

  • In reply to ChiTownBulls:

    You can always blame poor defense on a lack of effort. The question is the reason for the lack of effort. Is it the coach over working the players, star players not setting the example, a lack of overall athleticism or something else?

  • If Thibs puts Hinrich in the starting lineup against San Antonio then we are all just wasting our energy and thoughts. While there are many problems wrong with the Bulls right now, starting Klank would show everyone that Thibs is tragically inept. All we can do then is write the season off and wait for a new coach next season.

  • There have been and were going into the season too many storylines around the Bulls which weren't championship-related. Teams that win the title have a singular focus.

    I've seen a lot of people give Derrick a pass as of late because he called out the team, and I suspect because a few of his threes finally happen to be falling. He's still playing lazy and sloppy. One of the biggest offenders. And don't even get me started on his defense.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Finally! You hit the magic word - FOCUS!

    A/K/A intensity, concentration.

    Formerly, the Bulls had this, at least to a reasonable degree. So, what happened? Because understanding what happened is the key to fixing it, right?

    I think the Bulls got hit with a negative perfect storm!
    1) Either Rose is not healthy or is afraid;
    2) Noah is taking months to heal;
    3) Mirotic and McDermott before injury both seemed to have psychological issues;
    4) Butler seems to have those issues now;
    5) Dunleavy injury;
    6) Thibs has blind spots or stubbornness - playing Kirk more than Brooks; pairing Gasol and Noah; wearing guys out in long practices;
    7) A few bad decisions costs games that should have been won;

    I think this had led to a certain apathy where players think, "Why knock myself out?" Because so-and-so won't go after the rebound, won't box out, will make a lazy pass, will dribble off his foot, will make a stupid decision, won't focus at the free throw line, etc, etc.

    And so everyone (almost anyway) starts dogging it on a lot of plays because they are not convinced it will matter.

    So, what now? The players get together and talk thru this, and then decide what they are going to collectively do - or not. And they appoint one or two to talk to Thibs about what he needs to do.
    And then they all begin working on stuff together. And then, if most of items 1 thru 7 improve, they will contend for a title.

  • I've been saying for a good month or more that it looks to me like this team is tuning Thibs out. And they actually have a few decent reasons for doing so:

    1 - Thibs' underuse of Niko. While this isn't a direct shot at Taj (though his DefReb and defensive effort has certainly been lacking this season), our players are veterans and surely they must be wondering why Taj is getting 10 minutes more per game than Niko.

    Niko leads Taj in almost every statistical category (per stats.nba.com) - the team's DefRtg is 2.3 pts/100 poss better with Niko than it is with Taj. Niko is also better in OffRtg, NetRtg, DefReb%, TotReb%, Ast%, Ast/TO, TO ratio, TS% (by 2.6%), and Player Impact Estimate (PIE, in which A player that achieves more than 10% is likely to be better than the average player. A high PIE % is highly correlated to winning.) Niko's 12.8 PIE joins Gasol 16.1 and Butler 13.3 as the only players above 11 on the roster (Taj is at 10.2).

    Taj only leads Niko in OffReb% and eFG% (by less than 1%).

    The only player with a better OffRtg and NetRtg is Brooks (and I'm not talking individual, I mean team OffRtg with that player on the floor).

    The only players with a better TS% than Niko's .569 are Dunleavy .592, Butler .583, and Brooks .575.

    Niko leads the team in DefRtg (off guys getting at least 10 min/night).

    So why is Niko only NINTH on the team in minutes per game? I'm sure many of the players are wondering the same thing.

    Niko was playing great ball, then all of a sudden Thibs cuts his minutes way down, and he went into a slump. Now maybe it's just a coincidence at it's a "rookie wall" thing, but Niko is used to playing 70+ games a season so he should be more ready for the 82 game schedule than most rookies.

    2 - Kirk. Surely the other players must be wondering why Kirk is getting so many minutes. Why is he getting 28 minutes and Brooks only 20? Kirk's 4.7 PIE is easily worst of players who get minutes, next is Snell at 5.8.

    3 - Butler and Gasol, why are they playing so many minutes? I saw one of the "experts" (non-Bulls) recently saying how obvious it is that Butler and Gasol look worn-out on the floor, not that it hasn't been obvious to many of us for quite a while. Why is Gasol playing 12 consecutive minutes in the 1st and 3rd? Even your best players should be playing in 6-8 minute stretches, then give them at least 2-3 on the bench so guys are fresher. Hell, even Blatt can figure that one out from what I saw in the CLE game.

    4 - Minutes in general. If Thibs expects guys to bust their asses on defense all the time, he should keep all of them to no more than 30 minutes a night and no more than 9 consecutive minutes. The exceptions should be Rose (32-33 minutes) and Butler (34-35 minutes most nights).

    As someone else mentioned, Thibs used to (argue, fight, disagree, you choose the verb) with Doc as well. You can't give guys too many minutes in games AND expect them to practice long and hard between games.

    Hopefully for us Bulls fans, the team is just slumping and they still love Thibs and they will turn it around soon. But we're all seemingly seeing an unmotivated, tired team far too much.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Your points 2-4 are plausible and sure they may be correct, but man oh man do I have to just point out how much of a waste of time you put in with that comparison of Niko and Taj. So you are telling me that the Bulls players who have played with Taj for years and love everything about him, think that Niko should get more time? I'm sorry, that is one of the silliest arguments I have ever heard? Niko has not done anything since December, and you think the new guy is getting that much love from teammates already? You are delusional with this Mirotic stuff....I know that you know your stuff, but c'mon don't make yourself look so silly

  • In reply to Keep:

    Like I said, it wasn't so much a shot at Taj, if anything Niko should be getting some of Gasol's minutes and a few of Taj's.

    Even with his recent struggles, Niko is still:

    3rd in PER and PIE
    2nd in Def Reb%
    3rd in Reb %
    4th in TS%
    2nd in Off Rtg (the team when he's on the floor)
    1st in Def Rtg (the team when he's on the floor)
    2nd in Net Rtg (the team when he's on the floor)
    3rd in TO ratio

    Even when he's not hitting his 3's, he still spreads the floor because teams can't leave him wide open at the arc.

    He has struggled with his shot the last 8 games without a doubt... but then again, the team is 2-6 over that period, they are all struggling right now for the most part.

    And even though the team is 5-6 in January and Niko has struggled with his shot, his +/- is still +2.9 per 48.

    And it's not like the entire team has played with Taj for several years, Gasol and Brooks have never played with him, Rose hasn't played in 2 years, Dunleavy only played with him last season.

    And it's not like Taj is tearing it up in January:

    Taj - 29.7 min, 9.6 pts, 6.4 reb, .490 TS%, -0.9, 3.4 def reb
    Niko-19.1 min, 7.4 pts, 3.8 reb, .482 TS%, +2.9, 3.3 def reb

    Niko-29.7 min, 11.5 pts, 5.9 reb, .482 TS, +2.9, 5.1 def reb

    You said Niko hasn't done anything since December, but he's still right there with Taj in January.

    Obviously none of us know what each player is thinking, and I know everyone (fans) loves Taj - but he's just not playing very will this year. His Def Reb% and Total Reb% are at career-lows, to me it just seems like the better he's gotten at scoring, he cares more about offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I always enjoy your analyses, Don. Most of the time I agree with you.

    Development of new players is one of the keys to building a championship team. As he has gotten more court time, Niko has improved. So cutting his minutes is, for the long term, simply stupid! I do not get Thibs thinking on this.

    Butler should have played more as a rookie, he would have developed faster. Now he is overused, and it is taking a toll. 25-pt games from Butler would have moved many of the recent losses into wins. And that's just one player.

    We have all posted about these and other problems. Don't the Bulls have any sharp assistant coaches who can help Thibs adjust his philosophy or whatever it is?

    I still believe the players need to have a team meeting to iron out all of this. Then they need to send a couple of reps to Thibs to tell him how to fix it.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    It should be obvious to anyone watching(even Thibs) that in addition to being the Krispy Kreme Pansey, Gasol is likely the worst conditioned athlete on the Bulls, thus the last guy who should be playing in 12 minute shifts. Even if his total minutes weren't reduced, which they should be, he should be limited to 6 minute shifts which might allow him to increase his effort level on defense from close to zero to somewhere around 10%.

  • Thanks rusty, I really appreciate that.

    This isn't a news flash, but the Bulls need a stretch 4 on the floor with the starters more than almost any other team to spread out the defense, because their PG and SG are not good 3-point shooters. Rose needs a clear lane to drive, and Butler needs space to post up smaller SG.

    That's why it's so important for Niko and McDoug to pan out, their shooting is the perfect fit next to Rose and Butler.

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